Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Team Coming Together as Dust Settles

Starting 5 Clarified Further

The finger injury to Scrabble was more serious than expected and a fracture to the finger he though just bruised will keep him out at least 4-6 weeks. We all know that gripping a baseball to throw a specific pitch is an art with many subtelties. Having an injured finger on your pitching hand may take longer to heal completely and get back to the point where he can fine tune his pitches to establish himself permanently with the Jays.

This is similar to hitters who have hand injuries which can have a disastrous affect on their swing and mechanics. Just ask Lyle Overbay who is still trying to get back to the point he was at in 2006 when he hit 22 homers and had 92 RBI. After a mid season injury being hit by a pitch he has never been the same.

For the Jays it makes their job easier as Rzep hasn't been particularly effective the last 3 outings. After Cecil's outing today, the decision is much easier for Gaston. He can now have a clear conscience putting Eveland and Cecil in the rotation spots and Tallet back in the pen where he's most effective. With the demotion to Carlson, the Jays need Tallet's arm in the pen to give them some lefthanded depth and long relief flexibility.


Valdez had another scoreless outing and is beginning to look like a steal off the waiver wire. Downs, Gregg, Valdez, and Camp to get to closer Fraser with Tallet and Janssen in long relief is an exciting way to start the season. This team will pitch well though inconsistently due to its youth. If we hit at all - meaning Wells, Oberbay, Encarnacion we'll win enough games to reach .500.

Strong Bullpen Keeps Starters’ Heads Straight

Jeff Blair makes a good point about the Toronto bullpen and its makeup on a bunch of young starters psychologically. Though Anthopolous is unlikely to trade for anyone other than a legitimate prospect with some future upside, such a trade is likely to involve one or more of Frasor, Downs, or Tallet our strongest trading chips. This would weaken our likelihood of closing out games with perhaps an inconsistent Kevin Gregg left to close out games the games with unproven setup men behind him. This could have a profound effect on young starters who create a lead only to have it blown late in the game by a leaky bullpen.

Such a situation is something all starters have to get used to as it happens to the best teams and the most proven relievers. What you don’t want to have happen is the fear of losing a game get into a pitcher’s psyche so much that he goes longer than he should and hurts his arm and the team’s future as a result. Add to this the fact that the manager can become obsessed with an ineffective pen and begin to extend his starters longer.

This has happened frequently in the past with other teams and through trade happen to the Jays. The difference is that there is much talent on this team and likely someone from Roenicke, Merkin, Accardo, Purcey who would step up to the table and take over one of those roles. Remember, trades also create opportunity and many young players just need someone to show confidence in them and a chance to play. Once handed a job full time that new belief in themselves produces previously unseen result.

Updates


Joey Garthright signed a minor league deal with the Orioles. It’s no surprise that somebody picked him up in spite of his disastrous spring. The one thing you can’t teach is speed and Garthright has it to be used as a late inning defensive replacement or pinch runner. Jays just didn’t have a spot for him and weren’t going to make one.

With Purcey and Carlson being optioned to AAA, and the Jays short of lefties out of the pen now, it’s more than possible that the Jays will use Eveland’s strong spring to put him in the rotation and move Tallet back to the pen where he belongs. Rzep didn’t do anything to enhance his chances last night. My bet is that if Cecil has another strong outing, with his minor hand injury, Rzep will end up in Las Vegas to recover and continue fine tuning.

Jeremy Reed the other man demoted to AAA impressed enough people with his strong spring that he will be the first one called if the Jays need an alternate outfielder due to injury.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Were They Thinking?

Another Bonehead Article by Fox

Foxsports has another article today which tells me that they haven’t done their research and know nothing about what’s going on in Blue Jays’s spring camp. They focus on Hill’s stats last year which are likely to decline somewhat, the loss of Scutaro’s bat, and the Roy Halladay trade. If this team were in L.A. or N.Y. they would be focus on all the shrewd moves by GM Alex Anthopolous, the upside of all the young players, particularly the pitching, as well as the likely comeback of Wells, Overbay, and Encarnacion. I predict there will be a bundle of writers who will be shaking their heads come mid-season asking themselves “where did these guys come from?”

Deperate Trade

On the surface, it doesn’t look like the Tigers got much in their deal for Nate Robertson. They had to pay almost all his salary and got a mid grade prospect projected as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen in return. Jay Voss an 8th round pick in 2007 had decent stats in AA last year but seems to be far below the original expectation the Tigers had in a deal for Robertson. Since they had to pay most of his salary anyway, I guess they didn’t feel he would perform enough to be at least a B level free agent in which they’d pick up a draft pick better than Voss.

Foxsports Reports Roster Limits are Inhibiting Trades

With so many teams at or close to the max of 40, including the Jays, teams have little room to add a player, without risking losing someone else. The roster sizes according to mlb.com at the moment. Note that players on the 60 day DL do not impact the 40 man roster.

Angels – 38
Astros – 39
Athletics – 40 (1 player on 60-day DL)
Blue Jays – 40 (3 players on 60-day DL)
Braves – 39
Brewers – 39
Cardinals – 38
Cubs – 37
Diamondbacks – 40
Dodgers – 39
Giants – 38
Indians – 40 (1 player on 60-day DL)
Mariners – 40
Marlins – 37
Mets – 37
Nationals – 40 (1 player on 60-day DL)
Orioles – 40
Padres – 40
Phillies – 38
Pirates – 40
Rangers – 41 (2 players on 60-day DL)
Rays – 37
Red Sox – 40
Reds – 40 (1 player on 60-day DL)
Rockies – 40
Royals – 40 (1 player on 60-day DL)
Tigers – 40
Twins – 40
White Sox – 39
Yankees – 37

For the Jays this should not be a problem since anyone they trade will likely come from the 40 man pitching roster anyway and for which we have a suitable replacement. My expectation is that whoever the Jays acquire will be a prospect that may not yet be required to be put on the 40 man roster. So we could effectively free up a spot or two on the roster through trade.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Not Flying Under the Radar, Off the Radar

It must be because we’re north of the 59th parallel otherwise how could someone like Peter Gammons completely miss the boat in his article about teams that will surprise. I think with Doc gone and the Jays being one of the majors youngest teams, everyone has just assumed they will be one the deadbeats of of the American League. So fine, let us fly under the radar and let teams take us for granted. We’ll turn that into victories.

All I can say is WOW!!!

How can you not get excited about our starting pitching when you see a performance like the one by Dana Eveland yesterday (6 IP, 4 H, 8 SO). If such an overpowering day doesn’t solidify his spot in the starting rotation, then I don’t know what he has to do to convince people he belongs. I guess the Jays will just have to call the Diamondbacks to get a little Eveland love. Having once been acquired by trade, don’t you think they would love to have him in their rotation now? He may have to bide his time in the pen until he gets his opportunity through underperformance or injury to one of the other starters. In any case it’s a nice problem to have.

The Suitors For Bullpen Help Will Come

Aaron Hill Exceeds “Potential”

Great article today about the scouting and drafting history of
Aaron Hill. It is evidence to me about how tough a scout’s job is not only from a geographic coverage standpoint but also from a perspective standpoint. Just imagine how difficult it is when you’re traveling a lot and away from your family, but you’re sent to see several games in which there are lots of players but only 1 or 2 which you’re targeting. If you don’t go with a broad view and an open mind, you can miss a player of Hill’s caliber and potential. Now that is a real talent that must take years to develop and it’s why teams value the really exceptional scouts so highly.

Bullpen by Committee Seldom Works

Minnesota Twins have decided that for the time being they are going to attempt to replace Joe Nathan with a “bullpen by committee” arrangement in the hopes of avoiding having to trade for a legitimate closer. Many teams have attempted this experiment, some with limited success, but most with disastrous results. The best example I can think of regarding the need for a full-time undisputed closer is the Blue Jays themselves.

From their inception in 1977 until Henke become the undisputed closer in 1986, the Jays didn’t have any choice but to go with a bull by committee approach. They didn’t have the talent or depth to give someone the job and let them run with it, and tried on occasion (Bill Caudill) to trade for a legitimate closer to solve their problem.

The Jays had some pretty good teams in those days logging 89 wins in ’83 and ’84 and then 99 wins in ’85 to win their first division title. Yet in those 3 years they had a bullpen by committee with 5 pitchers recording saves in ’83, 6 in ’84, and even 5 in ’85 when they had their best year ever. From 1986 through 1992 when Henke left as a free agent, it was left to Henke and Mark Eichorn and then Henke and Duane Ward to do the closing, with dramatically better results.

This is why teams give such big contracts to free-agent closers like Billy Wagner, Francisco Rodriguez, and our own B.J. Ryan. All GM’s know that a strong closer can put those marginal games in the win column and enhance your chances of post-season. The Twins know this too and will finally resolve themselves to trade for a closer long before the trade deadline.

Unless Brad Lidge gets healthy and asserts himself, the Phillies will be in a similar position. There are other teams with playoff aspirations such as the Cubs who don't have the depth in relief they'd like to have. This doesn't even count the teams we can't identify yet who through injury or performance haven't experienced a need yet. The deeper into the season get, the better the trade options for the Jays.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jays to Be Different Team by Mid Season

Now Tallet a Trade Target
Bullpens in Disarray article identifies all the teams who are potential candidates for one of our surplus of relievers. Jason Frasor is mentioned most often not only because of his experience as a closer as well as setup man but also because of his contract. However, Brian Tallet is now being mentioned often for those teams who are looking for a starter and that includes the Diamondbacks and now the Mariners with Cliff Lee on the shelf.

A deal could happen before the season opens but is more likely to happen sometime in May after a few weeks of reality settling in especially for the teams with dreams of contending like the Cubs, Twins, and Phillies. An outstanding start to the season by Frasor and Tallet could elevate their value in the eyes of the teams in need and get us maximum value in return, perhaps more than we might expect to receive at any other time. I have no doubt that AA has our bevy of new scouts working overtime becoming familiar with the prospects of each team.

My Changes to Projected Lineup
I love yesterday’s debate by Jordan Bastian about the opening day lineup. It is nice to have so many question marks with potential positive outcomes such as the McCoy vs. Reed debate for the last bench spot or having so much pitching that it’s hard to make decisions. With Dana Eveland and Merkin Valdez out of options and showing so well in camp I would hate to lose either of them without getting something of value in return. With so many teams short on pitching, I would keep them both in the lineup and send others who, though may be deserving, to Las Vegas for more fine tuning.

Bastian picks Starters: RHP Shaun Marcum, LHP Ricky Romero, RHP Brandon Morrow, LHP Brian Tallet, LHP Marc Rzepczynski with a potential flip/flop between Rzep and Cecil. Though Rzep and Cecil both continue to show flashes of brilliance, they have also been inconsistent and are also working on new pitches. It wouldn’t hurt either one to start the year in AAA to continue working on both. A starting staff of Marcum, Romero, Morrow, Eveland, and Tallet doesn’t change much considering Eveland’s performance this spring and his previous major league experience.

Bastian picks Relievers: RHP Jason Frasor (closer), LHP Scott Downs, RHP Kevin Gregg, RHP Shawn Camp, LHP Dana Eveland, RHP Casey Janssen, LHP Jesse Carlson. With Eveland now in the starting rotation, you can insert Valdez in place of Eveland in this list and not reduce the effectiveness of our bullpen much. That leaves Purcey to hone his relieving skills in AAA and be ready for call up in case of trade or injury.

The Rays manager, Joe Maddon has been quoted on multiple locations that he loves the Jays pitching and it not for decimation by serious injuries (Marcum, Litsch, McGowan) we would have had a very competitive team last year. This from a man managing a team with a pretty strong rotation of his own!

I too like the prospects for this year better than last even without Doc at the #1 spot and it will only get better as the year goes on and the young starters in particular gain more experience. In addition, the potential replacements in case of injury – starters Rzep, Cecil, later in the season Litsch, McGowan and in the bullpen – Accardo, Purcey, Roenicke make us very deep compared to previous seasons.

Mark my words, this team will look very different by end of season. Having see AA in action already, the man has a plan and he will be jumping on every opportunity to turn this current surplus of pitching into some ripe talent on the farm. Now add to that the large number of draft picks we have this June and our farm system should move up to at least the middle of the pack this year.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Status Quo Remains from Today's Game

Todays game didn't really clarify anything further for the Jays today. Tallet, Janssen, Accardo all pitched outstanding giving up 0 runs over the 8 innings they pitched. Several players continued their hot streaks with Jeremy Reed and Bautista each having 2 hits while Mike McCoy was 1 for 2 and Brad Emaus had a hit in his only at bat. Joey Garthright on the other hand had another 0 for 3 basically cementing the fact he'll not start the year with the Jays.

Jeremy Reed has certainly earned a spot as a backup but likely will be squeezed out by McCoy due to McCoy's speed and position flexibility. Let's hope the Jays can find a way to send him to the minors as he would be a great callup in the event of injury. Emaus continues to impress and as I posted a few days ago, he is looking like a major leaguer with each passing game. Where he plays and who he replaces is big question, but if he keeps hitting and knocking in runs the team will find a spot for him in the future.

You've got to like the way some of the Jays prospects are performing in spot action as well. Welinton Ramirez who hit .317 in the minors with 29 doubles and 17 SB was 1 for 2, while Darin Mastroianni last year hit .297 with 70 stolen bases and finished at AA had a hit in his only appearance.

Dream of Future Jays Stars

Sporting News has a great section on the upcoming MLB draft and this week’s “mock” draft which provides great food for discussion about possible future Blue Jays. This week has the Jays drafting a pitcher out of Ohio State named Alex Wimmers. They just happen to have a profile of Wimmers as well which makes for interesting reading.

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cubs, Twins, D'backs all have need for pitching with the D'backs need being specifically for starters. Apparently the Tigers Nate Robertson doesn't quite cut it for Arizona so it is unlikely one of the Jays young starters would either. However, this is where Dana Eveland is an ace in the hole. He is a known quantity to them having been in their organization already prior to being part of the Dan Haren deal. The Twins and Cubs continue to scout Frasor and Downs but don't expect to make a deal to start the season.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Clubhouse Rumblings and More

Interesting article in the Globe and Mail this morning about the Jays clubhouse today compared to when Doc Halladay was with us. Amazing how people remember things differently once someone has been traded. In all the years Doc was with the Jays I never heard anything said that was other than admiration for Doc, his work ethic, quiet leadership, and willingness to help people. Even taken with a grain of salt, I guess one never knows what goes on behind closed doors.

Rumor has it the Phillies are looking for pitching depth and are looking to pick up a pitcher who is out of options . I’m guessing the Phillies are hoping for a cheap alternative off the waiver wire or someone DFA. The Jays have lots of players who could potential fit this category who might fit the purpose in a minor deal though the farm is a little thinner after the Halladay deal.

A Dallas newspaper reports that the Ranger’s bullpen is full of holes and requires shoring up. Rangers have one of the highest rated farm systems in all of baseball and might be willing to part with a lower level talent to make a deal. Rangers have many of the parts in place to compete for a playoff spot today so it’s just a matter of filling in the gaps. Their prospect list includes a couple of top outfielders but is full of top young pitching prospects at the lower levels but tons of upside.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Other Team’s Needs Becoming Clearer

1B Situation Could Open UP
Lyle Oberbay is very quietly putting together a very nice spring. With yesterday’s game he is now hitting .435 with 10 hits in 23 at bats including 5 doubles and 8 RBI. Let’s hope he continues to pound the ball throughout the spring and into the season which will enhance his trade value.

Teams Continue to Talk Up Jays Relievers
Great feature on Fox Sports about 10 top trade possibilities and the teams who they could be going to. Notables include both Scott Downs and Jason Frasor going to the Rays and Cubs respectively.

We Could Trade a Starting Pitcher Too
Sports Illustrated notes that the Dodgers are sorely in need of SP depth behind Kershaw and Billingsly. Could they be interested in one of our young starters and be willing to include SS Dee Gordon or OF Andrew Lambo in return? A year ago, Baseball America did an article which ranked prospects by position and Lambo was on the same list with similar or better stats than Travis Snider. Anybody interested?

Anyone Could Be Traded
With Boston Red Sox middle infield situation becoming murky with injuries to Dustin Pedroia and Jeff Lowrie, could they be interested in super sub Mike McCoy as a backup? With Boston fighting the Yankees for playoff turf, perhaps someone with even more experience and a stronger track record like John McDonald? Though Pedroia has been cleared to continue playing, one never knows what can happen when players try to play through those nagging injuries. The Red Sox can’t afford to fall behind in the standings even early in the year and don’t have suitable backups for the middle infield. Even though we’re not flush with middle infielders ourselves, you just know that AA is waiting in the wings looking for opportunities to add to our organizational depth. He has shown himself adept at adding pieces to the puzzle in the short term to enhance the team’s future. Those phone calls will come and I believe almost anyone is available for the right price.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Security in the Infield

Brad Emaus - Not a Forgotten Man Yet
Brad Emaus has continued to impress this spring with his gritty play as well as his performance at the plate. To date he has hit .375 with 6 RBI and played solid even if unspectacular defense. This is a continuation of last year’s spring when he tore the cover off the ball and impressed the Blue Jay brass. What we have in Emaus is the making of a solid major leaguer who continues to improve over time. Though not blessed with speed, he is discriminating at the plate, does take a walk and gets on base regularly – the makings of a good #2 hitter.

At Tulane Emaus played both 2B and 3B and the Jays have been using him at both positions as a potential backup or future position player at 3B. Third would not be his natural position, but he can defend effectively there and does hit enough home runs to be dangerous.

Though slightly larger in stature, Emaus is a poor man’s Dustin Pedroia considering the way the 2 men play the game. Without the natural talent of Pedroia, Emaus will have to scratch and claw his way to the big team. However, without any depth behind Aaron Hill (except for backup John McDonald) in their permanent lineup and lots of opportunity at 3B considering the Jays’ options there, Emaus could surprise a lot of people given an opportunity due to injury. He has performed admirably everywhere he has played and at every level. There is no reason to believe he wouldn’t do so at the major league level.

More Jason Frasor Trade Fodder
Buster Olney writes that the Padres are likely to hold off trading Heath Bell until closer to the trading deadline to drive up his value. His track record might be appealing to the Twins to replace Joe Nathan, but they are more likely looking for a short term solution. Jason Frasor would fit the bill of requiring only a one year commitment and the concession of a middle level prospect like Ben Revere. If Frasor performed to his potential he could end up being a class A free agent. This would end up being a bonus for the Twins, returning a couple of potential draft choices in return.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tallet True to Form

Sporting News reports that the Twins have confirmed interest in Padres Heath Bell as a possible replacement candidate if injured Joe Nathan requires season ending surgery. This is not good news for the Jays likelihood of trading one of their excess arms from the bullpen if true.

Though Jason Frasor would be cheaper both in terms of dollars and prospects in a trade, with the Twins in serious contention for a playoff spot perhaps they feel they need a closing candidate who has a stronger track record. If so, then Bell would be their man having recorded 42 saves last year. With a $4 million contract he would be a great solution from a financial standpoint but would likely cost the Twins 2-3 prospects to acquire. Jason Frasor on the other hand could be had for the like of Ben Revere who has had a strong spring for the Twins.

Roster Situation Clearing

The appearance of a shoulder problem for Brandon Morrow could have created a potential SP spot for Dana Eveland or Brett Cecil who is working with a new grip for a cutter. Both Cecil and Rzep are working with Bruce Walton trying to come up with a pitch that will induce more ground balls in an attempt to reduce their pitch counts and having some success it appears. This would help them go deeper into games which would reduce the burden on the bullpen and help add some of the innings we’ll miss from Roy Halladay. The good news is that Morrow's shoulder problem was minor and he has been cleared to throw.

Brian Tallet proved true to form today. After what was a strong outing last time out, today he gave up 5 earned runs in 5 innings. As a starter he's a pitcher who give you under a .500 record with an ERA of 5.0. Cito please read my words - "Dana Eveland" is a better bet to start the year. Put Tallet back in his best role as long reliever and spot starter in case of injury.

The bullpen looks different too due to the potential addition of David Purcey and his new 2 pitch repertoire. Merkin Valdez has an arm scouts drool over so it appears the Jays will keep him in the hopes they can ease him into a bullpen role and eventually throw strikes. Dana Eveland makes this team because he has earned it based on performance, experience, and the fact he’s out of options. Jays won’t let him go without getting something in return in a trade. It appears Jeremy Accardo is the odd man out since he has options left. He’ll complain about it but will go to AAA in hopes that someone doesn’t perform or they need him due to injury. I believe he has zero trade value at this point, but he needs to go to another organization to get a chance to play again.

With Travis Snider beginning to hit, it looks like he has earned the job and confidence of management that this could be his breakout year. Let’s hope they’re right, we’ll need his bat to overcome some of the leads our young pitching staff will give up. Mike McCoy has earned a bench role and it’s likely Encarnacion starts on the DL opening a temporary spot for Jeremy Reed.

We will have a very full DL at the start of the season but it will be full of players with huge potential. The fortunate thing is that the replacements aren’t too shabby and make for a young, exciting, and competitive team. We aren’t going to be pushovers and will have a pitching staff that could shut down the opponent’s lineup on any give occasion. Pending any additions by trade, it’s looking very encouraging.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nathan Need Replacement?

Sporting News reports that the Twins have confirmed interest in Padres Heath Bell as a possible replacement candidate if injured Joe Nathan requires season ending surgery. This is not good news for the Jays likelihood of trading one of their excess arms from the bullpen if true. Nathan was due to test his arm yesterday but I haven't heard whether he did or not and if he did what the outcome was. All signs however point to the need for surgery.

Though Jason Frasor would be cheaper both in terms of dollars and prospects in a trade, with the Twins in serious contention for a playoff spot perhaps they feel they need a closing candidate who has a stronger track record. If so, then Bell would be their man having recorded 42 saves last year. With a $4 million contract he would be a great solution from a financial standpoint but would likely cost the Twins 2-3 prospects to acquire. Jason Frasor on the other hand could be had for the like of Ben Revere who has had a strong spring for the Twins.

Just as injuries about beginning to have an impact on our lineup, so too will this happen to other teams. With an excess of pitching to deal, we will have no shortage of trading partners either before the end of spring or shortly after the season begins and teams realize what they finally have. Once some candidates for post season emerge, AA's infamous blackberry will begin ringing. Pitching is always in short supply, so teams will want what we have to deal.

Roster Situation Clearing

I posted a few days ago about it being too early in the spring to be certain about the lineup going north. With a couple of weeks still left in spring training, demotions and injuries are beginning to help clarify the potential opening day lineup.

The appearance of a shoulder problem for Brandon Morrow could create a potential SP spot for Dana Eveland or Brett Cecil who is working with a new grip for a cutter. Both Cecil and Rzep are working with Bruce Walton trying to come up with a pitch that will induce more ground balls in an attempt to reduce their pitch counts and having some success it appears. This would help them go deeper into games which would reduce the burden on the bullpen and help add some of the innings we’ll miss from Roy Halladay.

The bullpen looks different too due to the potential addition of David Purcey and his new 2 pitch repertoire. Merkin Valdez has an arm scouts drool over so it appears the Jays will keep him in the hopes they can ease him into a bullpen role and eventually throw strikes. Dana Eveland makes this team because he has earned it based on performance, experience, and the fact he’s out of options. Jays won’t let him go without getting something in return in a trade. It appears Jeremy Accardo is the odd man out since he has options left. He’ll complain about it but will go to AAA in hopes that someone doesn’t perform or they need him due to injury. I believe he has zero trade value at this point, but he needs to go to another organization to get a chance to play again.

With Travis Snider beginning to hit, it looks like he has earned the job and confidence of management that this could be his breakout year. Let’s hope they’re right, we’ll need his bat to overcome some of the leads our young pitching staff will give up. Mike McCoy has earned a bench role and it’s likely Encarnacion starts on the DL opening a temporary spot for Jeremy Reed.

We will have a very full DL at the start of the season but it will be full of players with huge potential. The fortunate thing is that the replacements aren’t too shabby and make for a young, exciting, and competitive team. We aren’t going to be pushovers and will have a pitching staff that could shut down the opponent’s lineup on any give occasion. Pending any additions by trade, it’s looking very encouraging.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Eveland Traded to Make Room?

Eveland to Diamondbacks?
As I posted a few days ago, the Dbacks once traded for Dana Eveland but had to give him up in the Dan Haren deal. Apparently, they continue to have interest in him and who wouldn’t the way he has pitched this spring. MLB Rumors reports that they are now looking for some starting pitching depth and Eveland is still on their radar. Trading Eveland, who is out of options would clear up the currently muddy pitching situation for the Jays and clearly hand the 5th starter job to Brian Tallet who has done a strong job this spring but who has been clearly out pitched by Eveland. Sometimes you also have to read between the lines and Cito keeps saying he only needs one lefty out of the pen. So if that one lefty is Downs, then it means Cito sees Tallet as a starter and Eveland is dispensable.

Relief Situation Staring to Clear
Blue Jays offered rule 5 selection Zech Zinicola back to Washington yesterday. As I suspected and wrote the other day, AA tried to cut a deal with Washington to keep him but the Nationals declined since they wanted him back. With the large number of arms in Jays camp this year, Zinicola would have had to make a huge impression to stay with the club, something hard to do considering he only got to pitch 3+ innings. Jays also sent Zack Jackson and Lance Broadway to minor league camp and released Casey Fien. I find it interesting to note that Merkin Valdez is still in the running considering his inflated ERA. Apparently, the Jays like his stuff and see enough flashes of brilliance to take him north with them in light of him being out of options.

The Toronto Sun has indicated that on Thursday, general manager Alex Anthopoulos stated the obvious when he said that, if all things were equal, then the Jays probably would go with the pitchers who were out of options and send the others to the minors. It's called protecting yourself and it is done by all 30 major league teams. "It certainly goes into it and we told all the players," Anthopoulos said. "We met with them before spring training started and said to all the guys that have options: 'The guys who have options, you guys are more at risk.' "The guys that didn't have options, I told: 'You've got to make this team, otherwise you can get exposed to waivers, you can clear, you can get claimed." The ones that have options I said: 'The reality of it is, you have options. If it is close, you have the risk of being sent down. It means your performance has to be that much stronger if it is a tie between the two of you. "

Bullpen - Gregg, Frasor, Downs, Camp, Eveland (assuming he doesn't get traded and Tallet is the 5th starter), Janssen, and Merkin assuming Carlson is on the DL to open the season. Purcey they can continue to explore using him in a relief role with his reduced pitching repertoire and showcase him for a potential trade. The spectre of a trade of one of our middle relievers would also clear things up a bit.

In any case, Tallet likely moves to the pen once McGowan is ready and a spot has to clear for Carlson when he is back to health. Lots of options, none of which are bad and lots of trade material available to strengthen our team or farm once other teams have injuries or holes in the rotation appear.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Potential Lyle Overbay Destination

More Rebuilding Discussion
Richard Griffin has a nice article today which piggybacks on mine from yesterday about the Jays rebuilding, comparing them to the same rebuilding effort by the Orioles. I don’t think there is any doubt Baltimore is ahead of us and I expect them to play .500+ ball this year but the Jays are not far behind and could potentially have a .500 record themselves.

It is just more evidence that this is the best and toughest division in all of sports. Imagine having 5 teams over .500 and only 2 of them making the playoffs. This also speaks to Bud Selig’s thoughts on realigning the divisions to create more competitive balance, take advantage of natural rivalries, and give more of the better teams in the AL a better chance of being in the playoffs.

Overbay to the Marlins?
Report from the Miami Herald today says there is an opening at 1B and Mike Lowell of the Red Sox is a possible candidate. Considering the size of his contract and his uncertain recovery from the hand injury which caused cancellation of his December trade to Texas, could Lyle Overbay be a more economical option for the Marlins? Oberbay would be a 1 year commitment the same and Lowell, has a salary several million less than Lowell, would play superior defense, and is sure to bounce back from a bad year last year. My assessment is that he’s a much better risk for the Marlins.

ESPN reports that scouts say Lowell is not moving very well this spring and so the Marlins are cooling on the idea of him at 1B for them even if the Red Sox paid most of his salary.

2010 Draft Preview
The Sporting News has a great early look at the 2010 draft and takes a shot at projecting the draft order. It’s way too early yet to be certain who might be available in a specific slot, however, it does give us all a look at some of the top players available so that we can become familiar with them.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yeah for the Bullpen - AGAIN!

I'm happy for Brian Tallet had an outstanding outing today, as did the whole pen who followed him, except for Merkin Valdez who gave up another run in his sole inning. Tallet continues to prove his value as a spot starter, particulalyr in shorter outings, as well as a long reliever. Tallet averaged about 5.5 innings per start last year and managed a 5.32 ERA and a .500 record. The previous year he had an ERA under 3.0 in 51 innings strking out almost a batter per inning. Am I the only one who still thinks Tallet is misplaced as a full-time starter? Today was a perfect example of how effective he can be over 4-5 innings when batters don't get to see him the 3rd or 4th time around. This strength is lost when you try to extend that ability to 5+ innings. Perhaps I'm not giving him enough credit and he only needs a full season as a starter to prove me wrong. On the other hand he could prove me right.

I just believe as a team we have a better option in Dana Eveland who's always been a starter. This would allow us to leave Tallet as the 2nd lefthander in the pen and place him in his best role which has the highest probability of success. Whatever the outcome, the 5th starter role will only be a temporary spot until Dustin McGowan gets to try out his rebuilt arm once it is built up to full strength. He would be a welcome sight every 5th day and would greatly enhance our chances of a .500 record this year.

Today's performance by the pen continues to enhance our ability to trade middle relief for a prospect. Valdez is obviously not going to make the team and likely will be waived unless someone else claims him due to his fabulous arm that he just doesn't seem to be able to harness.

What has become of our rule 5 draft pick Zechry Zinicola and what are the Jays plans for him? I would have thought they would have run him out more often to find out what they have. Perhaps they're trying to work out a deal with the Nationals so they can keep him and send him to the minors for more seasoning. If not, why haven't the Jays offered him back to the Nats as some other teams have already with their rule 5 picks? The same question goes for Jeremy Accardo. Only 1 inning pitched this spring which doesn't appear consistent with the Jays promise to give him every opportunity to make the team. Is he injured or is this a symptom of the Jays just having too many pitchers in camp?

Rebuilding the Jays/Opportunites Abound

A Peek at the Future Blue Jays
Oustanding article this morning in the Toronto Star by Richard Griffin about building the Blue Jays over 3 years the way Dave Dombrowski did the Tigers when he inherited the GM job there in 2003.

Remember AA connection to Dombrowski when they were with the Expos and Dombrowski's subsequent success in rebuilding the Tigers. "We had to stay the course," Dombrowski recalled of those '03 Tigers. "If you're giving up any part of your future to win four or five more games then that's when you get yourself in trouble. Because then you're veering from the plan a little bit, which you really shouldn't do." You can see the pattern developing here with the actions Jays GM has already made. Every move has been calculated with 20011-2012 in mind. The players being acquired have high upsides from a talent perspective knowing they won't be major league ready for 2-3 years. Think of Drabek, d'Arnaud, Hechevarria and you get a picture of a flood of talent ready to hit the field for the Jays in 2012. 

Another comment which was particularly telling came from Pat Gilling "They went through the whole (building) process because they knew they were going to have to be really good in order to win because they had such a strong division, they never shortcut anything." All the discuss about baseball realignment aside, the Jays have to build knowing they have to beat out 3 of the top teams in baseball in the Yankess, Red Sox and Rays. This means they have to plan on winning 95-100 games to win the division or even be the wildcard as there are likely to be 2 teams from the AL East make the playoffs in the foreseeable future. Such performance isn't going to possible with just average players. Look at the significant investment AA has made in scouting in preparation for this draft and you see that it speaks to Gillick's comment.

AA hasn't ignored the current Jays roster knowing that even if the fans buy into the long term plan, you still have to put a decent product on the field. The Brandon Morrow trade is a good example of building on your weaknesses by using using your strengths is the way to put a decent team on the field. This is why I also believe Anthopolous has continued to add pitching which cost him practically nothing (Eveland, Merkin, Zinicola, Jackson, Register, Shawn Hill) knowing that teams never have enough pitching and are going to need to add to their rosters as the end of spring approaches. This is why I believe AA  is going to pull off a trade or two before the season begins using addition by subtraction - taking from our strength (middle relief and first base) to add to our weaknesses. His likely additions will be OF or 3B prospects with an upside, even if they are at A ball because their ETA in Toronto is 2-3 years making the timing perfect for 2012.

I believe that the Jays will surprise a lot of people this year though they will finish 4th or 5th in the division. Though young, they have some very talented players at least one of which will likely have a breakout season such as Travis Snider, Ruiz or Dopirak if given a chance to play regularly. I also believe one of Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Edwin Encarnation will have a comeback season which we will need because I don't think Aaron Hill will hit 30+ homers again. We would all be ecstatic if he hit 20 homers with 80 RBI's and played outstanding defense.

The Jays rotation is starting to take shape with Marcum, Romero, Morrow, Rzep, and Tallet as the placeholder until Dustin McGowan is ready to show he's fully recoverd, likely in May. The bullpen to me is uncertain with the possibility of AA trading some chips for future talent, but as it stands now it likely is Frasor, Downs, Gregg, Janssen, Camp, and my favorite to make the team thus far Dana Eveland. I don't know how you keep him off the team if he continues to pitch as he has so far. Jesse Carlson likely starts on the DL along with McGowan. Steve Register has pitched well so far and our rule 5 pick Zinicola has shown he might be a keeper. Roenicke has done about the same job he did last year. These 3 guys would likely be the fill ins should AA pull off a deal for Frasor or another reliever, and I don't see our team being weaker for it. The wildcard in all this is the transformation of David Purcey to a potential reliever by limiting him to fastballs and sliders so that he can throw more strikes. This would give us an additional lefthander in the bullpen and could spell trade or minors for one of the other candidates listed above.

I could see the season playing out as follows:

Marcum/Romero - 30 wins between them
Morrow - 12 wins
Rzep/Tallet/McGowan/other spot starters - 15 wins
Bullpen - 20 wins

The Jays bullpen the last 2 years has won about 16-18 games. The Dodgers had around 30 wins from their bullpen, so 20 isn't out of the question. So I make it 77 wins which would be a repeat of last year. I would be glad to see a 77 win season in the first year of rebuilding post-Roy Halladay.

Another Opportunity
The Washington Nationals have apparently released Elijah Dukes rather than put him on waivers or try to trade him. An outfielder with outstanding talent, Dukes was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2002 draft by the Rays and joined the Nationals by trade in 2008. Just like Delmon Young in Minnesota, this guy has power to burn and can steal a base as well. With our system devoid of OF talent at the upper levels, is he a project AA and the Jays want to take on? Tabbed with a reputation for a bad attitude and with a history of poor judgment in his off-the-field behavior is this guy ready to mature at the age of 25 or is he just a bad apple who might upset the harmony Jays are building within their organization? The Nationals say his release had nothing to do with off field issues. Why then just release him? What are they not saying between the lines? Another low risk/high reward opportunity is at hand.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

More Middle Relief Trade Opportunities
Another potential trade partner is clearly identified today in this article by Ken Rosenthal about NY Met pitching phenom Jenrry Mejia. Even the Phillies don't have as strong a middle relief corps as they would like and continued uncertainty regarding what they are going to get with Brad Lidge. It seem that the number of potential trading partners AA has to talk to about our excess of middle relief is growing by the days. I have no doubt his blackberry is working overtime!

In addition to Jason Frasor and Scott Downs, David Purcey is apparently drawing attention from other clubs. The Jays have changed his repertoire to try and make him more consistent and throw more strikes which has been the only thing keeping him from sticking at the ML level. Reducing the number of pitches he has to throw to a fastball and slider makes him a great setup or closer candidate. His stuff has never been in question. Additional information provided by  Bruce Walton, Jays pitching coach.

And the possibilities just keep on growing. Stay tuned during the next couple of weeks and watch Alex add to our farm through trading our excess pitching.

Hechevarria Clarity
More details coming to light about the Adeiny Hechevarria signing via MLB Trade Rumors today which references a couple of articles from the Toronto newspapers worth reading.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Todays Game - Observations

Scrabble had another solid game today after a rough 1st inning in which he gave up 3 runs but retired 9 of 11 the rest of the way. This guy is a battler and I don't see any way he isn't our #4 starter to begin the season behind Marcum, Romero, Morrow.

Brian Dopirak had a monster home run off the scoreboard to the opposite field today. Though he strikes out too much like most power hitters, I continue to profess that this guys only needs someone to show confidence in him to get his major league career off the ground. However, Randy Ruiz continued his tear with 2 more hits and will be hard to ignore, while continuing to put up strong numbers following his awesome showing late last year and a solid season in winter ball.

Tyler Pastornicky looked more than comfortable at short today especially on a couple of popups with a swirling wind today. He also had a hit in 4 trips to the plate.

Casey Janssen put in a solid inning but Brett Cecil looked shaky. Janssen may make the pen based on history and reputation but I can't see Cecil making the team out of spring training unless there's an injury. While his stuff is indisputable, it appears to me he needs to more time in Las Vegas to create some consistency.


Missed "Dave Stieb" Type Opportunity
It was reported Sergio Santos, a converted shortstop who's pitching well for the White Sox, is very likely to make their staff as a reliever, as he is out of options. He throws in the high 90s and has an excellent corkscrew changeup, according to pitching coach Don Cooper. White Sox farm director Buddy Bell gave him the chance to become a pitcher a year ago after he didn't hit enough to play shortstop. He still had the bug to hit and was traded to the Giants last spring, but after he didn't make it there as a shortstop either, he returned to the White Sox.

For those of you who remember, Dave Stieb was drafted as a weak hitting outfielder in 1978 who had a great arm and was convinced by Jays brass that his future in the majors was as a pitcher and not a hitter. Within a year and a half he was with the Jays to stay and turned out to be one of our best players ever. It's too bad the Jays management couldn't have remembered that lesson with Santos, or perhaps they suggested it but were unable to convince him he couldn't hit enough to make it as a SS. Santos the Diamondback 1st round choice in 2002 and was acquired by trade but was unable to get beyond AAA as a SS due to weak hitting.

Whether the Jays or Santos ever considered this during his stay witht he organization, it is a good lesson to be remembered for future. Could this apply to Justin Jackson or Kevin Ahrens?

Twins Closer Situation Still Muddy
MLB website reports that Joe Nathan is going to begin throwing to take one last shot Saturday at determining his potential to pitch this year though the likelihood is he'll need season ending surgery. Potential internal replacement Francisco Liriano sees himself as a starter and is fighting for the 5th starter role after recovering from surgery himself. Part of the Twins challenge would be to convince him to take over the closer role temporarily for the best interests of the team. They might be better off having a happy Liriano starting and find an alternate solution to their closer situation knowing that it is only for a year until Nathan returns in 2011.

Thoughts to Start The Day

Temporary Closer Required
Sports Illustrated reports that the Twins continue to pursue a closer who might replace Joe Nathan. It's unlikely they'll find any success without paying a high price for an established one. This is why they continue to explore other options like Francisco Liriano and external ones like John Smoltz. Smoltz is 42 and looking for another opportunity at post season and the Twins could be a candidate. He would likely be one of the more expensive options. Jason Frasor and Jeremy Accardo (30 saves in 2007) would be very reasonably priced low risk/high reward options and would cost the Twins an A level or mid grade prospect at best. If nothing else, the Twins would have another strong arm for a bullpen by committee arrangement.

Brian Tallet's Status
Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star has an interesting article today on Brian Tallet. My view is that his best and most effective role continues to be long relief and spot starting. I just don't see him as a season long starter. However, when Cito falls in love with someone, he will ride them beyond what is a reasonable length of time before replacing them. He loves Brian Tallet so he may just be our 5th starter. As previously posted, I believe the Jays have much stronger options.

Shortstop Problems Over?
Blue Jay Hunter has a nice article on Adeinis Hechavarria, the Cuban shortstop apparently ready to sign with the Blue Jays.

Some points of note related to our shortstop situation: the speculation is that Hechavarria could start at AA and be ready within 12-24 month to join the big club. Considering the Jays top SS prospects haven't yet progressed beyond High A ball this is great news if true. With John McDonald signed through the end of next year, we still have some options at the major league level if it takes until the 2nd half of next year before he makes his major league debut. Also, this would take the pressure off the organization with respect to SS development.

They could let Pastornicky, Jackson, Pierre fight it out to see who develops with the greater upside. It has been reported that Hechavarria might have arm action that doesn't translate well to SS and could end up in the OF like Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks. The same has also been speculated about Tyler Pastornicky, so it would be wise to continue to focus on SS development on the farm just in case. If any of them become solid major league prospects at short in the next 2-3 years and Hechavarria is still playing SS for the Jays, they would make great trade material. There is always a shortage of above average SS in the major leagues. Just look at the Cubs who have 4 on BA's list of their top ten prospects including Starlin Castro who is putting on the pressure for the Cubs to take him north this year at only 20. Yet they aren't in a hurry to trade any of the other prospects. Strange things can happen such as injuries, position changes, players being unable to traslate minor league success at the major league level, etc.

Don't you just love where AA is taking this organization? With all the doom and gloom subsequent to the Roy Halladay trade, I find it amazing that the Jays are not only putting together the makings of a competitive team this year but building a strong farm with some very high ceiling prospects. I would guess our farm will now rate in the top half of teams vs. near the bottom only 3-4 months ago.

Most predictions I've seen show the Jays having fewer wins than last year and some have even predicted potentially 100 losses. In spite of our youth, I believe we are going to surprise a lot of people and it is just as likely that the team could play .500 ball this year while continuing to develop the younger players and give them much needed experience. The future looks bright Jays fans!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Looks Like a New Shortstop in Town

Our Shortstop Worries May be Over

According to the New York Post, the Blue Jays are about to sign Cuban shortstop phenom Adeinis Hechavarria who is widely believed to be better than another Cuban shortstop, Jose Iglesias, who earlier signed with the Red Sox for $8 million. Though Alex Anthopolous wouldn't comment on the report as usual, there is too much evidence floating around from credible sources to believe that this is anything but true. If so, this could be the end to our shortstop problems even sooner than expected.

True to the mission of this blog to provide creative insight and analysis to the customary sports information, I will not try to best Mat Germain at Jays Journal who has done his usual bang up job of providing some really intuitive thoughts regarding our team's future at shortstop. Cudos Mat.

What Do Trade Discussions Look Like Now?

I recently posted with some suggestions for AA regarding taking advantage of the Cubs and Twins relief pitching injury problems to try and obtain a solid SS prospect. Several things have changed related to that discussion. The first is that the signing of Cuban SS Hechavarria, if true means we no longer have the same sense of urgency in looking for a SS with a large upside. The second is that recently, some of the other pitchers on both the Twins and Cubs have stepped up and have both teams considering internal solutions. The Twins in particular have an outstanding pitcher in Liriano who has the stuff to be an outstanding closer, the only concern is his make up. However, he could be an opening day solution and the team may let him pitch himself out of the job before looking at external solutions.

The external solutions discussion has recently turned to John Smoltz who purportedly still has enough stuff to fill in at closer if he would be willing to sign at a reasonable price. In the absence of any other offers at the moment and with the Twins post-season prospects looking good, Smoltz might be glad to sign for less with some incentives to have one last shot at the World Series. I see the Cubs as a more likely destination as a setup man and Chicago has a wider array of prospects that would fit the Jays.

Finally, Frasor had an ugly pitching line today giving up 4 runs. Let's hope he has an impeccable spring the rest of the way for one more outing like that would essentially eliminate any interest acquiring him.

Regardless, of who the trade targets on the Jays might be for other teams, it appears our prospect focus has, in one SS acquisition, shifted to OF or 3B. Keep it going Alex, you continue to impress in the way you are rebuiling this organization.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How to Get to Post Season

The Road to Success

I like where we're headed as a team and the job AA has done so far. It's time for him to turn some of our excess pitching assets into some position players with some talent and upside through the trade route. This is one of the reasons why I have previously posted on another site that the Jays should not let the opportunity to do a deal with the Cubs or the Twins pass by. It has been widely reported that both teams have expressed interest in Jason Frasor and perhaps Scott Downs due to serious injuries with their relief core. The Cubs in particular have a multitude of SS prospects and BA lists 4 on their list of Cubs top 10 prospects.

Starlin Castro is likely untouchable but what would it take to acquire Hak Ju Lee. He is only in A ball but after reading his profile, he sounds to me like a Justin Jackson who can hit! He is 2-3 years away and needs to mature physically as well, since he's only 18, but has the size to hit for some power as well as average once he fills out. If Jason Frasor isn't enough to acquire him, let Alex sweeten the pot and add someone else to get the deal done even if we could potentially be paying more - like the Brandon Morrow deal. Alternatively, why not expand the deal to make it a bigger one. I'm not sure of the Cubs other weaknesses - this is where someone else could comment to add some value to the conversation.

This Year's Draft

One can never have too much pitching and I know GM's love to say they always draft the best players, but it would be nice if we could focus this year's draft on some bats for the future. This team is at least 2-3 years from seriously competing for the post season in our division. A strong 3rd baseman, SS, or outfielder drafted this year could potentially be ready by then.

It always amazes me how certain organizations have more success drafting position players (Brewers, Rangers) while others have more success drafting and developing pitchers (Jays, Braves). Perhaps AA's desire to add a broader cross-section of scouting experience is an attempt to balance Jays ability to identify both pitching and bats.

Thoughts on Spring Training So Far

Two weeks into spring training games, we have a couple of weeks before some of the hard decisions about backup and bench players need to be made.

Mike McCoy has been doing an outstanding job for the Jays so far and on the surface he appears to be the perfect bench player for the Jays. He can play multiple positions in both the IF and OF which provides flexibility, he has speed which we are woefully short of, and can bat leadoff in the event the Bautista experiement fails. He had another couple of hits today against the Braves and if he continues will force the Jays to take him north.

I would be happy with either Ruiz or Dopirak as the DH/backup at 1st base. I have this sense that Dopirak just needs a chance and someone to believe in him before he puts it all together the Linda did last year. He certainly has the talent and the minor league stats to support. If you compare him to Lars Anderson who BA rates as the Red Sox 4th best prospect, other than age, they compare favorably, but Dopirak’s stats blow him away. In spite of the love for Ruiz and pending arrival of Wallace, I would give Dopirak a chance to be the DH/backup at 1st. He has a higher upside than Ruiz and could be great trade material if he succeeds, even if we are committed to a future with Wallace at 1st. Ruiz would continue to be a great alternate option if it doesn’t work out.

My bigger concern is Travis Snider. I know it’s only spring but he has yet to get it going and is hitting under .200. If he doesn’t improve over the next couple of weeks, I believe he could start the year in AAA. Right now the only one of the outfielders fighting for a roster spot, who is hitting is Reed. Could he start the season in the OF while he is hot while Snider gets more seasoning with less pressure in the minors to be recalled later. I see Snider experiencing the same issues Lind did getting established at the major league level. One day it will just “click” and he’ll have a monster year.

The pitching is even more exciting with so many great arms in camp. I believe this too will play itself out before the end of the March. With all the pitchers out of otpions, I believe the Jays will trade one or more of their middle relievers to make room for some of the up and coming talent, perhaps even keeping Zinicola on the roster. Dana Eveland has done a great job so far and makes more sense as a 5th starter to me than Tallet. Tallet’s highest value is as a long reliever and “spot” starter. What we saw last year is what we’ll get again if we try to make him a permanent starter – a mediocre record with an ERA near 5. We will get the same or better from Eveland if you look at his history. Whoever it is will only be a placeholder for McGowan anyway, who will start on the disabled list to build his arm strength before he gets a chance to prove he is finally healthy. We need a new #1 starter, and McGowan has the stuff and potential to be that, if he can come back to full health. I believe the Jays will give him every opportunity to do so. Being out of options, someone will claim him as a low risk/high reward player if they try to waive him anyway. Jays need to know once and for all if he is going to make their rotation.

So by May imagine a rotation of McGowan, Marcum, Romero, Morrow, Rzep. Great balance, great talent, lots of potential and upside.

One or more of the middle relievers will be gone by opening day. They have too many without options, such as Camp, Valdez, Eveland, and Tallet who would be claimed if the Jays tried to waive them. I believe one of the rumors about Frasor will be fulfilled. Middle relief is the part of our team which could be easily replaced with one or several of the players in camp.

Now sit back a enjoy the spring and remember – injuries – on our team or another, can dramatically change the roster makeup and player movement. Enjoy the next 3 weeks.

Postscript to today's blog:

Today’s pitching line for Eveland against the Braves

3.0 IP 2 Hits 0 Runs 0 Walks 4 SO

Is he starting to grow on you yet?

I picked up this post on the rumor wire while reviewing the boxscore: ” Both the Diamondbacks and Mariners had interest in Dana Eveland before he was acquired by the Blue Jays, tweets MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez.”

D’backs interest in Eveland is understandable as he was part of a 2006 trade in which they initially acquired him. They had to include him in the Dan Haren deal but obviously would be glad to have him back.

Eveland’s trade history

June 4, 2002: Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 16th round of the 2002 amateur draft. Player signed May 26, 2003.

November 25, 2006: Traded by the Milwaukee Brewers with Doug Davis and Dave Krynzel to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Greg Aquino, Johnny Estrada and Claudio Vargas.

December 14, 2007: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks with Chris Carter (minors), Brett Anderson, Aaron Cunningham, Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith to the Oakland Athletics for Dan Haren and Connor Robertson.